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F*** the Chiefs and Taylor Swift’s boyfriend

This is really about the Denver Broncos. But F the Kansas City Chiefs anyway.

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AFC Championship - Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Good morning, Broncos Country!

F*** the Chiefs.

OK, got that out of the way; now we can talk about the Broncos.

Before the divisional round playoffs, radio host David Hurlbutt of “The Morning Huddle” asked me what I wished the Broncos had that then-still-playing teams had, leaving out franchise QB because that’s a given and the Broncos clearly need one.

I love thought exercises like this because the stakes are low and it’s always fun to play GM.

But it’s also an excellent question.

Most teams do not go from a three- or four- or five-win record to a playoff team in one offseason. We were hopeful that Sean Payton could do that with the Broncos in 2023, but we probably should have been more realistic. Getting more out of Russell Wilson, building some continuity on the offensive line and getting close to .500 was a decent turnaround even if not nearly satisfying enough.

By the way, f*** the Chiefs and Taylor Swift cameos every first down (For the record, I’m a fan of Swift; it’s the NFL’s pimping of her that is out of control).

Leaving the QB conversation aside for the moment, what else did these playoff teams have that the Broncos need to become a winning franchise again...

Coaching?

Like many in Broncos Country, I was pretty ecstatic with the Sean Payton “coup” hiring a year ago.

After being burned by the “up-and-coming, excitable” Nathaniel Hackett experiment, a veteran offensive mastermind seemed like the perfect antidote. And I’m not saying it wasn’t. But I was not as impressed with Payton as I wanted to be.

His ego and stubbornness for “his own QB” got in the way of making the 2023 squad the best it could be. So there’s some improvement needed there.

Although Andy Reid has Patrick Mahomes, he still seems to out-scheme his opponents most of the time. And Kyle Shanahan? Despite outsmarting himself sometimes, he’s as good a football mind as you’re going to get. And he has that offense humming even with the last guy (not just the last quarterback) picked in the draft.

If you look at all the best playoff teams this year - Chiefs, Niners, Lions, Ravens...even the Packers and Rams - a common denominator is a brilliant head coach (Cowboys were obviously not on the list; their coaching was horrendous). The Broncos could definitely use some more brilliance and less ego.

But still, F*** the Chiefs.

Better trenches?

As improved as the Broncos’ offensive line was this season - primarily due to the same guys being on the field together almost the entire season - the Big Uglies still got beaten too often for our quarterback to consistently be comfortable in the pocket...or sometimes immediately after the snap.

The Lions had a remarkable o-line that PFF graded as the second-best in the NFL (ironically even with former Bronco right guard Graham Glasgow). Broncos would do well to have such a high-performing O-line.

But on the defensive line, the Broncos should look to the Niners for the dominating kind of players that can take care of business - both getting pressure on the QB and stopping the run. Denver just wasn’t nasty enough at either to really stress an offense.

Anyway, F*** the Chiefs.

Offensive superstars?

The Broncos had a lot of talent on offense but aside from Courtland Sutton, who really came alive this season, the talent was merely good, but not spectacular. In the case of the Chiefs, most of the wide receivers and running backs are nothing special. But no one remembers that because they don’t need to; there’s still Travis f-ing Kelce.

Oh yeah, F*** the Chiefs and Taylor Swift’s boyfriend.

When you pair a future HOF quarterback with a game-changing tight end, the rest of the guys on the field can be pedestrian. The Broncos need some more superstar power on the offense for sure. Jerry Jeudy should have been that. Greg Dulcich might have been that. Javonte Williams could have been that.

2024’s team definitely needs some of that.

Secondary?

Even with Pro Bowlers Justin Simmons and Patrick Surtain II on the roster plus some highlight-worthy takeaways, the Broncos’ DB room generally underperformed this season.

During the five-game win streak, the secondary’s run of takeaways was generally the difference between winning and losing. But it was unsustainable, and once the DBs weren’t hawking the ball, the team couldn’t get the dub.

Look at just about any of the playoff teams - from the Bills to the Texans to the Ravens to the Niners - and you’ll find a strong pair of cornerbacks and safeties making sure opposing wideouts cannot catch the ball. I’d take that.

Except from the Chiefs. F*** them.

So what do the Broncos need most?

When I answered the question, I argued that while the Broncos could use all these things (obviously), what it needs more than anything is an internal will to win, not just a desire to do so. Every team wants to win, but only half of them will. And just a few did so because they imposed their will on the opponent and forced the game to be played according to their strengths.

It helps to have a roster full of stars to make that happen. But there have been plenty of teams with just above-average players consistently playing above their level because they want to win a whole lot more than they just don’t want to lose.

The 2024 Broncos need more fight in them - fight to get a first down, fight to get in the end zone, fight to tackle, fight to crush a rival. The Broncos have been bullied on the field the past eight seasons and it’s time to reverse roles.

So seriously, F*** the Chiefs.

Poll

What do YOU think the Broncos need most (beside a franchise QB)?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Better coaching
    (70 votes)
  • 13%
    Stout O-line
    (112 votes)
  • 21%
    Nasty D-line
    (176 votes)
  • 6%
    Better offensive stars
    (51 votes)
  • 0%
    Ball-hawking secondary
    (6 votes)
  • 17%
    It’s always just going to be QB.
    (147 votes)
  • 32%
    Whatever. F*** the Chiefs.
    (274 votes)
836 votes total Vote Now

News that’s not about the f-ing Chiefs

Sean Payton’s search for offensive progress is about more than QB puzzle - The Athletic
The Broncos’ struggles down the stretch in 2024 closely mirrored their ineptitude in the run game. They must be better in 2024.

Predicting how the Broncos will handle five key veterans with contract questions - The Athletic
Extend Justin Simmons? Explore the trade market for Garett Bolles? A look at some big-money decisions the Broncos face this offseason.

With Senior Bowl practices upcoming, the Broncos' quarterback evaluations set to heat up | Denver Broncos | denvergazette.com
So, the Broncos might take a quarterback with the No. 12 pick in the NFL draft?

Broncos add depth to defensive line with signing of Rashard Lawrence | Denver Broncos | denvergazette.com
The Broncos on Wednesday added depth to their line with the signing of veteran defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence to a futures contract.

Chargers expected to hire Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz as new general manager
The Chargers are expected to hire Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz as their new general manager, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday.

How the 49ers overcame Trey Lance trade to make the Super Bowl | 9news.com
San Francisco 49ers overcome Trey Lance trade Brock Purdy return to Super Bowl: Can Denver Broncos move on from Russell Wilson and make playoff comeback with new QB?

Complete NFL Offseason Trade Guide for Every NFL Team | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report
With the matchup for Super Bowl LVIII set, most NFL franchises are already in full offseason mode. Scouting events will begin en masse in January, leading up…

Broncos add depth to defensive line with signing of Rashard Lawrence | Denver Broncos | denvergazette.com
The Broncos on Wednesday added depth to their line with the signing of veteran defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence to a futures contract.

NFL All-Rookie Team: C.J. Stroud and other 2023 draft picks who excelled this season - The Athletic
Stroud, Puka Nacua, Jahmyr Gibbs, Jalen Carter, Will Anderson Jr. — the 2023 draft class produced a ton of talented, early-impact players.